Individual Therapy

686121604Jim* started therapy the day after a panic attack.

As he settled on my couch for the first time, he sighed – “I guess I didn’t realize how bad things were getting until they started impacting me physically.”

The day after a particularly intense argument, he came home from work to an empty house. As he sat waiting for her to return home, suddenly, his heart began to race, and his breathing became shallow.

He’d had panic attacks as a teenager and recognized the signs, but he hadn’t had one since leaving for college. The fact that the panic was returning was Jim’s last push to call a few therapists.

Stopping the fighting seemed impossible.

At first, Jim felt he could do nothing to stop the fights with Pam.

He said that she became upset or angry over minor things, and no matter what he said, he couldn’t calm her down. It took everything in his power not to hurl insults back at her, and he often wasn’t successful.

After a fight, he’d think through all the possible things he could have done to stop it from escalating, and he never came to a clear answer. He felt trapped by this pattern and controlled by his anger.

2292707503Openly discussing the problem made a difference.

As Jim talked through these conflicts with me, he realized he did have some power to improve his relationship without taking all the blame.

His partner Pam often complained that she didn’t know who he was on the inside – and honestly, Jim partly preferred it that way. It meant there were fewer chances for conflict and him to get hurt. This approach was familiar to him, as he’d long ago learned to keep things to himself.

But slowly, he realized that his efforts to keep things “calm” with the people around him kept him from being his authentic self.

He was angry and lonely and didn’t know how to break out of that pattern without worsening everything.

Therapy inspired Jim to change.

Jim felt empowered to make the changes he wanted through his work with me in therapy and felt more understood and loved than ever.

Now, instead of shutting down when he senses a conflict coming, he engages with it confidently.

He reported that he is sleeping better at night and is even feeling more connected and engaged in his other relationships.

141945952How does individual therapy improve couples’ relationships?

I often say, “You can’t control other people, but you can control how you relate to them.”

That might seem obvious, but in practice, we spend much time thinking about getting someone to start (or stop!) doing what they’re doing.

Ironically, though, when we focus on ourselves and our health, relationships do benefit. When we see current conflicts in a new light, we can better respond in ways we are proud of.

This approach can keep us better protected in moments we need safety and open in moments where we want to engage fully.

How does individual therapy work?

I start every session by asking, “What would you like for yourself out of our time together?” It’s a deceptively simple question, but it sets the stage for the rest of the conversation. I love that it gives each person the power to decide what they want to focus on in that session.

Based on their answer, we start exploring what is getting in their way and what the client wants for themself. Often, we realize that an internal dilemma blocks the way – such as staying quiet to keep the peace. Unfortunately, this response is also a lonely way to live. We then explore the nuances of these dilemmas until new opportunities emerge.

This approach isn’t something I made up on my own. Please visit my How I Work to learn how I formed my approach by combining two scientific approaches to therapy: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Neuroaffective Relational Model (NARM).

2097899479Be like Jim!

Individual therapy provided Jim access to someone who listened without judgment, helping him realize that his past influenced his current relationship with his partner.

Individual therapy allows you to explore how you relate to others and the world.

I have the tools and expertise to help you address your problems. Don’t go it alone! Don’t hesitate to contact me today, and let’s start exploring how to improve your life and relationships.

*Names and stories are composite narratives and do not reflect actual clients.